Our Next Event

Girl Tales Live Reading and 2nd Season Fundraiser!

Girl Tales - FINAL-M

Who? You and the kids in your life! What? A live reading of The Literate Mermaid by Christina Quintana, and a fundraiser for a second season! We’ll have a silent auction of a bunch of goodies, face painting by Maggie Allen, a coloring station and a feminist photo booth! Where? Bureau of General Services—Queer Division @ [...]

Sun. Nov 18, 2018 3:00 PM


May 29, 2014

Opening reception for Diego Vela: Delicate Identity


Join us for the opening reception of Diego Vela‘s exhibition Delicate Identity.


The exhibition will remain on view at the Bureau through Sunday, July 6.


The Bureau has extended the exhibition through Sunday, July 27.


Artist’s statement
My work is result of my thinking of identity in relation to what is considered to be the norm and what is considered to be beautiful. It reflects on the idea of what normalcy is and how society deems what that looks like. It is represented in the the human body, from the obviously sexual to the tormented physiologically. My imagery is based on photos of myself and my friends that are open to share a private moment with me.  The paintings capture a moment of identity or identity forming.


Diego Vela lives and works in Harlem. He has shown at The Center NYC, and Gotham Gallery (New York City). He studied at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor in Texas, and at the American Intercontinental University in London.



Diego Vela

Thirteen  24″ x 30″

acrylic and human hair on canvas

completed 2004
A self portrait of the artist at thirteen.




Start: May 29, 2014 6:00 PM
End: May 29, 2014 9:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States

May 24, 2014

Wrong Side of the River

The Values return to set the Bureau ablaze with Why The RecklessMatt Kastella, and Sleepyzzz.


The Values deliver sizzling dance tracks, sultry ballads, and electrifying blues. In this economy, The Values are your friends.


With songs titled “Hello”, “Weeds”, and “Lighthouse, Why the Reckless performs music to remind you of a feeling you’d forgotten. sit and eat.


A new artist with my FIRST single/music video being released this month, Matt Kastella is a Texas born singer-songwriter and spent the last 5 years in Tokyo Japan working as an entertainer, and is now pursuing a career in pop music.


“Intergalactic explorers riding dragons made of lazer looms animals on
acid doublewide trailers filled with black holes in the eyes of a
psychedelic child dancing to the beat of a volcano that kind of sounds
like the Doors and kind of sounds like a guitar solo in the silence of
space rock n roll rock n roll rock n roll rock n roll” – a dream that
we had.


Start: May 24, 2014 8:00 PM
End: May 24, 2014 11:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States

Joan Larkin book launch: Reading from and Signing Blue Hanuman

Please join us to celebrate the publication of Blue Hanuman, a new book of poems by Joan Larkin.  There will be a reading and books hot off the press.

Joan Larkin’s sixth book of poems, Blue Hanuman, is just out from Hanging Loose Press.  Her previous collections include the Lambda Award-winning Cold River, My Body, and the Argos chapbook  Legs Tipped with Small Claws, among others.

“There are few poets in America who can combine Joan Larkin’s formal mastery with her emotional intensity…Unlike so many poets who lose emotional force as they get older, Larkin grows stronger as time goes on.” – David Bergman, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide.




Start: May 24, 2014 4:00 PM
End: May 24, 2014 6:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States
Cost: Free

May 23, 2014


TELL is an evening of story telling from the mouths and minds of queers in NYC hosted by Drae Campbell at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division.

Winning is the theme of the fourth installment of TELL.

Featuring special guests:

Varín Ayala

Gabriella Belfiglio

Ellie Conant

Zil Goldstein



Varin Ayala

Varín Ayala: Off Broadway: The Taming of the Shrew (TFANA with Maggie Siff; dir, Arin Arbus); NY Theater: Contigo (Signature); 365 Days/Plays (The Public); Jackson Heights 3AM (Theater 167): Las Facultades, The Beep (Pregones); Barber Surgeons (Studio 42); End of Summer, Love’s Labour’s Lost (Kaleidoscope at Cherry Lane); Numerous readings and workshops at NYTW, The Public, INTAR, The Lark, among others. Regional Theater: Pinkolandia (Two River Theater; premiere), The Motherf**er with the Hat (Hartford TheaterWorks), The Road to Washington (Mountain Playhouse), Angels in America I/II (Civic Theater of Allentown). TV:  Lie to Me, Hustling. Training: The Actors Center Conservatory, Shakespeare Lab at The Public, Groundlings.




Gabriella M. Belfiglio lives in Brooklyn, NY with her partner and three cats.  She teaches self-defense, conflict resolution, karate, and tai chi to people of all ages throughout the five boroughs.

Most recently, Gabriella won second place in the 2014 W.B. Yeats Poetry Contest.  She earned Special Merit Recognition in the Comstock Review’s 2013 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest.

Gabriella’s work has been published in many anthologies and journals including Radius, The Centrifugal Eye, Folio, Avanti Popolo, Poetic Voices without Borders, C,C,&D, The Avocet, The Potomac Review, Eclectica, Lambda Literary Review, The Monterey Poetry Review and The Dream Catcher’s Song.  She is currently compiling a full-length collection of her poetry.



Ellie Conant

Ellie Conant is a former party promoter giving her liver a rest and taking up writing again. She ran Choice Cunts, a rare party for raw queers for 6 years. Her main motivation to throw parties was to get the friendliest people she knew together, get them drunk, and watch them turn into assholes. Now almost 35, Ellie is focusing on her talents in the kitchen, the bedroom, and the hallway. She believes hallways are dreadfully neglected and they need more attention.



Zil Goldstein

Zil Garner Goldstein has not been a performer for about 10 years. She can tell you what to eat and will probably tell you what to wear, and is very good at telling you.










Start: May 23, 2014 7:00 PM
End: May 23, 2014 10:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States
Cost: Donations for Artists

May 21, 2014

Martin Duberman: Reading and signing for Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS

From award-winning historian and activist Martin Duberman comes a poignant dual biography of two men central to activism in the early days of the AIDS epidemic. Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill were both diagnosed with AIDS and raised awareness of the epidemic prior to the nation at large becoming aware of the disease’s existence. The year 1995 saw the release of protease inhibitors, the first effective treatment for AIDS, but it was also the year Essex Hemphill, an African American poet and performance artist, died from complications related to the disease. Michael Callen, a singer, songwriter and pioneering AIDS activist from the Midwest, had already passed away two years earlier.

Duberman documents each man’s life and work while providing readers a rare glimpse into how the United States, both at large and from within the LGBTQ community, approached the AIDS epidemic as it was unfolding. Hold Tight Gently closely examines the earlier years before U.S. culture was made more fully aware of disease; Duberman poignantly and respectfully utilizes Callen and Hemphill’s stories to explore how their disparate communities responded to the crisis in unique ways.

Hold Tight Gently is more than a moving dual biography of two unsung heroes of the pre-ACT UP period; it is essential to understanding the disease’s history and impact amidst a reality that many ignored or denied.


Photo by Raymond Adams

Photo by Raymond Adams

Martin Duberman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at the CUNY Graduate Center. The author of more than twenty books, including a highly acclaimed biography of Paul Robeson, Duberman has won a Bancroft Prize and been a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in New York City.


Praise for Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS (The New Press, 2014)

Seldom has a biographer been able to honor the doomed courage of his subjects with such redeeming insightfulness. Martin Duberman’s Hold Tight Gently is an unflinching masterpiece.
—David Levering Lewis, university professor, emeritus, New York University, and Pulitzer Prize winner for biography

We are always in danger of forgetting the past, and the huge advances we have made against HIV/AIDS often obscure the pain and the politics of the early years of the epidemic. InHold Tight Gently, Martin Duberman has brilliantly re-created this tumultuous era. Tracing these two lives through poetry and activism, Duberman captures the pain, despair, panic, heroism, and moral bravery that defined the generation of women and men who first faced this modern plague. Daringly imagined and beautifully written, Hold Tight Gently is a major work of modern history that chills us to the bone even as it moves us to tears.
—Michael Bronski, Professor of Practice in Activism and Media Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University

A dynamic people’s history of AIDS that must be read, debated, critiqued, and applauded. Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and other visionaries are revealed as complex individuals who made change but did not benefit from it. Throughout, Duberman confronts the racism at the core of the AIDS movement that became the global crisis of access to treatment. A bold work for a community that wants to understand itself.
—Sarah Schulman, author ofIsrael/Palestine and the Queer International

Martin Duberman’s work has been a continuing rescue mission to make sure that vital, but forgotten, stories from the past remain alive in our memory. With Hold Tight Gently, he has done it again and magnificently so. Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill come back to life in these pages. Funny and moving, enlightening and thoughtful, inspiring and enraging, this dual biography reveals the heartbreaking losses caused by the epidemic as well as the many ways people fought back. It can teach those who weren’t there what that first decade of AIDS was like and remind those of us who were how intense those years were. And all this through the life stories of two compelling individuals.
—John D’Emilio, professor of gender and women’s studies and history, University of Illinois at Chicago

Hold Tight Gently is a deeply moving work of largely hidden history. Martin Duberman brilliantly chronicles not only grassroots AIDS organizing in the early days of the epidemic but also the vibrant black lesbian and gay political and cultural movement that flowered during the same period. Through the lives of two remarkable men, Hold Tight Gently illuminates how race and class are inextricably linked to the struggle for sexual freedom and that against all odds people can fight for justice every day. A wonderful and important book.
—Barbara Smith, author of The Truth That Never Hurts and co-founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press

Through his probing and insightful chronicle of the lives of two very different gay men who were early voices in the fight against AIDS, Martin Duberman has again brought light to shine in a personal way on the role of progressives in LGBT struggles and the importance of addressing how race, class, and gender impact this epidemic and who survives it. Sadly, these perspectives are still urgently needed in today’s world, where those facing the devastation of AIDS are often invisible to mainstream politics. A poignant and politically potent tribute to those who have died from AIDS and who fought to make a difference even as their lives were cut short.
—Charlotte Bunch, Distinguished Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University

Hold Tight Gently is an absorbing read. It’s a necessary introduction to the uninitiated and a profound challenge to the collective amnesia concerning the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, one that shimmers with insights and lessons about race, sexuality, and class. Duberman’s take on these seminal figures illuminates their singular and collective triumphs and struggles and how the pandemic profoundly impacted political and social organizing by gays in the ’80s and ’90s. The biographer renders Hemphill and Callen with respect and grace—just the way they should be.
—Steven G. Fullwood, co-editor of Black Gay Genius

Martin Duberman’s profoundly moving reconsideration of Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill is much needed now, as AIDS continues to ravage so much of our world. This marvelous book, filled with surprising connections, will be read by activists everywhere and empower the future.
—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt


cover story for A&U

starred PW review

excerpt on Advocate.com



Start: May 21, 2014 7:00 PM
End: May 21, 2014 9:00 PM
Venue: Bureau of General Services–Queer Division
Phone: 646 457 0859
83A Hester St., New York, NY, 10002, United States